Through Curriculum Renewal: An Aotearoa-New Zealand Case Study

  • Brian WattchowEmail author
  • Mike Boyes


The first of the case study chapters provides a compelling example of how a socio-ecologically inspired vision for education and policy initiatives can develop and ultimately change the very foundations of approaches to teaching and learning. All school teachers and teachers in training will be familiar with curriculum documents that present the aims, objectives and structure of school curricula. These documents are usually organised around key learning areas such as English, Science, Mathematics, Health and Physical Education and so on. Curriculum documents establish the boundaries of content and levels of attainment required by students as they progress through the various levels of schooling from a preparatory year, through primary and secondary schools. They reflect the philosophies of the government of the day and are in a more or less constant state of review and renewal. Committees are established and representation called for from key stakeholders such as politicians, academics with expertise in varying disciplines, members of the community and from teachers themselves. Interestingly, we have never heard of students being represented as the ultimate key stakeholder in the curriculum development process at its most fundamental level. The stakeholders argue, discuss and debate what should or shouldn’t be taught in a state or nation’s schools. Inevitably, curriculum documents shape, and are shaped by, a nation of people. But not all people are equally in a position to shape curriculum in this way. Curriculum documents are artifacts of history, political conventions, historical and contemporary views of knowledge and pedagogy. They are also aspirational statements about the purpose and function of schooling in the ongoing work of societal change. This chapter outlines a remarkable process whereby socio-ecological principles were used, and came to have a major presence, in the development of the New Zealand Health and Physical Education curriculum.


Curriculum development Socio-ecological curriculum New Zealand Health and physical education 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EducationMonash UniversityFrankstonAustralia
  2. 2.School of Physical EducationUniversity of OtagoNorth DunedinNew Zealand

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